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SkyeMax solves MEI Construction & Services' connectivity challenge

Maxwell Technology has implemented its SkyeMax satellite broadband solution to provide connectivity to the MEI Construction & Services team on-site at the Kusile power station. As one of the contractors on this massive project, MEI Construction & Services has a key role to play in ensuring South Africa's power-generation needs are met. The Kusile site covers 2 100ha on what was formerly agricultural land in the Delmas area of Mpumalanga.
"It's a remote area and connectivity via the Telkom infrastructure was not available," says Yegan Moopen, managing member at MEI Construction & Services. "It's vital that our people on site can connect easily and reliably to our head office in Johannesburg. For one thing, we are managing a large labour force and therefore time and attendance records need to be uploaded timeously so we can run accurate payrolls. We also need to be able to interact with our clients and suppliers speedily."

A more reliable connection


After looking at various options, Moopen decided to go the satellite plus Mountain Box route as it was able to provide the needed connectivity quickly, was more reliable than the cellular connection, and did not require a lengthy contract. The solution chosen was the SkyeMax product from Maxwell Technologies, a subsidiary of Barnstone in combination with the Mountain Box product manufactured by 5th Mountain Networks.

SkyeMax offers satellite broadband connectivity at affordable rates across Africa. Only a satellite dish is required, and the basic service fee includes the first gigabit of data. Top-ups can be purchased easily, and unused capacity rolled over into the following month, making it a very flexible option.

Creating a private network


Maxwell Technologies partnered with 5th Mountain Networks, which supplied its MountainBox, a network appliance that virtualises the wide-area network, allowing it to be managed as a highly secure whole. MountainBox also offers other features such as a firewall, IDS/IPS and content-filtering. With one MountainBox on-site and one at MEI Constructions & Services' headquarters, a virtual private network was created to provide secure connectivity and simultaneous Internet access. MEI Construction & Services has been able to access and fine-tune their Internet usage policy and spend based on the reporting tools of the MountainBox.

"This is a great example of how SkyeMax can provide reliable, high-speed communication to a remote site very rapidly," says Kallie Carlsen, technical director at Maxwell Technologies. "When it's coupled with a user-friendly appliance like MountainBox, you have a solution that is easy to manage and offers the security an enterprise needs.
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